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Toyota PH launches yet another hybrid model with Yaris Cross

The newest member of the HEV family is the most affordable one

It's like the feisty Yaris grew up to be a bit more practical. PHOTO BY SAM SURLA

Well, Toyota’s worst-kept secret has officially been launched: The Toyota Yaris Cross is finally here. It’s perhaps a sign of the times that the new nameplate’s showrunner is its (somewhat) accessible hybrid electric vehicle variant.

The Yaris Cross is based on the Daihatsu New Global Architecture—specifically, DNGA-B. If that rings a bell, it’s because the Avanza, the Veloz, plus the AC100 Vios are also based on DNGA-B. Meanwhile, the Raize and the Wigo are built on DNGA-A.

Some of the styling in the Yaris Cross is reminiscent of its siblings, with the sharp lines and the stout figure that give it that city-runner specialty that Daihatsu is better known for.

Striking body lines, bodykit-like styling, and the crossover stature give the Yaris Cross a rather sporty city runabout look. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

At 4,310mm long, 1,770mm wide, and 1,615mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2,620mm, it sits between the Raize and the Corolla Cross in terms of size. This is no coincidence, as the unit is poised to slot right in between the two crossovers in Toyota’s ever-growing lineup.

The 1.5S HEV and 1.5V variants sport 18-inch alloy wheels, while the 1.5G variant wears 17-inch wheels. You also get disc brakes for both the front and the rear, along with a healthy 212mm of ground clearance.

LED headlights, fog lights, and indicators all around give it a sharp and clean look, topped off with a sporty and chunky front grille, a sizable front splitter, side skirts, and a rear diffuser. It also comes with a rear spoiler, roof rails, and a shark fin antenna.

The orange high-voltage cable leads to the tiny 0.7kWh lithium battery underneath the rear passenger seat. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

Toyota has finally managed to do away with Ni-MH batteries as in its previous HEVs in favor of lithium-ion.

The hybrid pack is somewhat on the small side with a tiny 0.7kWh battery hidden underneath the rear seats, but that’s enough for the hybrid system to do its job and assist the engine when it’s least efficient.

The 2NR-VEX (top) is the electrified version of the 2NR-VE (bottom). The 12V battery was moved to the trunk to make way for the hybrid system. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

Combined with the 2NR-VEX’s 90hp, the hybrid system develops 109hp and 121Nm of total system output. The gasoline variant sports a 2NR-VE mated to a CVT, generating 105hp and 138Nm, the same mill powering the Avanza and the Veloz.

The interior of the Yaris Cross is buzzing with features and upscale touches. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

You do get quite the feature set with the Yaris Cross. Keyless entry and push-start ignition are standard across all three variants.

There are puddle lights underneath the power and auto-folding side mirrors, and synthetic leather upholstery (fabric on the 1.5G) with blue contrast stitching for the seats and the cabin with customizable ambient lighting.

Not many cars have both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

The seven-inch digital instrument cluster and the 10.1-inch touchscreen give you access to some of the car’s features and infotainment, complemented by both wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.

You won't run out of places to charge your gadgets here. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

The front row gets USB-C and USB-A ports and a wireless charging pad, while the rear row receives two USB-C ports for charging underneath the rear climate vent. A 12V socket is hidden in the center console’s armrest.

The trunk’s load floor is configurable in two steps if you wish to have a flat floor for when the rear seats are folded forward. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

The power tailgate has a kick sensor, and folding the reclinable rear seats adds to the already cavernous trunk. The load floor is configurable to be flat at the expense of cargo space. A detachable tonneau cover is present to hide your cargo. Oh, and there’s a space-saver spare tire as well.

Cameras all around, including a built-in dashcam. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

You also get Toyota Safety Sense, with features like adaptive cruise control, pre-collision system, automatic high beams, lane-keeping, and lane-tracing assist.

Perhaps since everyone gets one by default nowadays, a dashcam comes standard as well.

The brochure continues with a 360° camera, front and rear parking sensors, follow-me-home lights, and auto vehicle hold—all coming standard with the 1.5S HEV and the 1.5V CVT. You’ll get lost looking at the spec sheet for this crossover (seriously).

The differences between the 1.5S HEV and the 1.5V are minimal. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

Interestingly enough, the sole differences we’ve seen between the 1.5V gas and 1.5S HEV variants are the HEV badge, the EV-mode button (for obvious reasons), and the slightly different shifter arrangement with paddle shifters.

Buyers of the HEV variant get rewarded with a panoramic moonroof and a six-speaker Pioneer sound system. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

You also lose the panoramic moonroof and the six-speaker Pioneer sound system, which are added niceties for those who spring for the top-of-the-line model.

Toyota's new ‘Beyond Zero’ badge is quite a looker. Clean yet charming. PHOTOS BY HANS BOSSHARD

Speaking of badges, the Yaris Cross has Toyota’s new “Beyond Zero” badge featuring the HEV lettering beside a circular colored badge reminiscent of the atmosphere viewed at high altitudes. The Prius seems to be the first one to get such badge globally, but we have been informed that the Yaris Cross will be the first to sport it in the Philippine market.

The Yaris Cross' pièce de résistance is its HEV mill. We'll have to find out just how frugal it actually is. PHOTO BY HANS BOSSHARD

The Yaris Cross is available in three trims:

The 1.5S HEV is available for P1,598,000 in White Pearl, Scarlet SE, and Dark Turquoise SE, all with a two-tone finish in Attitude Black Mica for the roof and the pillars.

The 1.5V CVT goes for P1,296,000, also available in a two-tone Scarlet SE for an additional P10,000. Other colors are White Pearl, Dark Turquoise SE, and Greenish Gun Metal, all single-tone finishes.

The 1.5G CVT costs P1,199,000 and comes in a single-tone Scarlet SE, Greenish Gun Metal, and Attitude Black Mica.

While we have to wait until we get to spend more time with the cars, our initial impression seems to be that the hybrid variant is the way to go. Not only does the P302,000 extra buy you a get-out-of-coding card, but the added kick of the electric motor does actually make the vehicle much more peppy than its purely ICE clone.

We’re curious just how much fuel the hybrid actually saves you, but we’ll have to wait for our own review alongside Toyota’s official numbers to find out.

Hans Bosshard

Hans is the ultimate commuter: He drives a car and he rides a bicycle. He also likes tinkering with mechanical stuff.